And They Called It Camelot – Stephanie Marie Thornton

Title: And They Called It Camelot: A Novel of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
: Stephanie Marie Thornton
Genre: Historical Fiction
: March 10th, 2020 (Berkley)

Synopsis: Few of us can claim to be the authors of our fate. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy knows no other choice. With the eyes of the world watching, Jackie uses her effortless charm and keen intelligence to carve a place for herself among the men of history and weave a fairy tale for the American people, embodying a senator’s wife, a devoted mother, a First Lady—a queen in her own right.

But all reigns must come to an end. Once JFK travels to Dallas and the clock ticks down those thousand days of magic in Camelot, Jackie is forced to pick up the ruined fragments of her life and forge herself into a new identity that is all her own, that of an American legend.

Stephanie Thornton’s latest novel brings us the story of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis from her first meeting with Jack, all the way to the dedication of the JFK Library. This is going to be a rather short review because the beauty of this book is in the way the story unfolds, so too many details will spoil the experience. As a rule, I tend to stay away from post WWII era historical fiction in general, but Stephanie Thornton’s novels are some of the few I am willing to try, particularly when it comes to historical personas I know little about. After last year’s American Princess, I am basically willing to read anything she writes. And They Called It Camelot is narrated in first person, by Jackie herself, and it was the perfect way to get to know this famous figure in American history.

As is with most of her novels, this is not one that can be rushed through. This narrative takes its time getting to the point, seeming torturously slow at times, especially since the reader knows where it’s going, but despite that manages to build up a kind of anticipation. I liked that this book took the time to focus on Jackie’s relationships with the rest of the Kennedys, in particular her father in law Joe and brother in law Bobby, both of whom not only supported her in times of need, but recognized and appreciated her intelligence and political acumen. As we follow Jackie through the years, we get a surprisingly intimate glimpse into her life and the story behind those golden days of Camelot. Her public image was always one of grace and sophistication, but Stephanie Thornton skillfully portrays the woman beneath – her trials and tribulations and her strength and perseverance in the face of hardships and loss and it’s impossible to not come away from this book with a new sense of respect for her.

Overall, this was a wonderful read, and clearly a very well researched one too. The author’s note is also very interesting and it discusses the few liberties that have been taken with the story. While this is a fictional account, it mirrors true events and timelines very closely and it was a delight to read. I absolutely loved this portrayal of Jackie Kennedy and I can’t wait to see what Stephanie Thornton’s next work is going to be. And They Called It Camelot is a book I would highly recommend for any historical fiction fans.

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!


8 thoughts on “And They Called It Camelot – Stephanie Marie Thornton

  1. Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews November 15, 2020 / 8:03 am

    I reviewed this book a few months ago and agree with your assessment. This was an expertly researched book, and the liberties taken weren’t too broad or made things too different from what really happened. I’ve read a lot about the Kennedys and thought the author did a good job of portraying what we know of them. Glad you enjoyed the book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) November 20, 2020 / 12:02 pm

      Thanks for reading! My favourite type of historical fiction are those that don’t stray too far from the facts, and this book fits the bill. It was a great introduction to the Kennedys and I’m definitely going to be searching for more set in this era.


  2. thathappyreader November 15, 2020 / 1:59 pm

    I’ve been eyeing this book and really appreciated your great review! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephanie November 16, 2020 / 5:28 pm

    Oooh, this sounds really interesting! I have always been intrigued by Jackie Kennedy’s life and while I’m not typically one to pick up historical fiction, your review makes me want to try this one out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) November 20, 2020 / 12:07 pm

      This was my intro to Jackie Kennedy and I liked it way more than I thought I would! I’m pretty cautious with my historical fiction choices usually and don’t stray out of the eras I’m familiar with, but this was totally worth the read. Hope you enjoy it!


  4. booksforall93 November 17, 2020 / 2:38 am

    Wow, this sounds really good, I know this is historical fiction but you never hear much about Jackie! Great review

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) November 20, 2020 / 12:08 pm

      Thanks for reading! This is actually the first book about Jackie I’ve come across, which is surprising, but I’ll definitely be searching for more books now.

      Liked by 1 person

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